What to do with a harassing email on the job
Sitting at your desk, you were minding your own business when a coworker sent out an email to you and a few others in your department. Normally, their emails were filled with jokes or memes, but today you opened the email to find nothing but half-nude photos of women. A simple message added, “take a look at this!”
That’s unusual and unacceptable in a workplace, so it’s important to note what has happened and to consider taking action.
What should you do if you receive a harassing email in the workplace?
Even if the email wasn’t aimed at you or wasn’t negative, it’s a good idea to take a screenshot and to print out the email to give it to the human resources department. It is inappropriate, and considered sexual harassment, to send nudes or partial nudes to people in the workplace under most circumstances.
Don’t forward the email to HR unless they ask you to, because there could be another factor at play: A computer virus. It’s possible that the coworker didn’t send out the email at all and that their company or private email was hacked to send out viruses.
It’s worth asking your coworker about the email when you get a chance. If they say they don’t know what you’re talking about, show them that email. They may also want to reach out to the technology department or the human resource officer to ask what to do if their computer has been hacked.
If they did send the email, you can ask them to stop. Even though the email may not have been aimed at you or speaking negatively about you or someone else, this kind of content is generally inappropriate in most workplaces.
What should you do if the emails don’t stop?
If these types of emails continue after you tell the coworker to stop sending them, then you should continue to relay the information to your supervisor, human resources department or employer. If nothing comes of your complaints, then you may want to look into making a claim for sexual or workplace harassment for what you’re having to deal with.